Ebooks have become a popular way to save money on college textbook expenses; but do you actually own the ebooks you pay for? The answer might surprise you.
The fact of the matter is that when you pay for an ebook, you might not necessarily be purchasing the textbook outright. Instead, you might only be purchasing access to the ebook, otherwise known as renting the ebook, for a set period of time – typically around 180 days.
The actual terms of your purchase vary by ebook vendor; some offer rentals, some offer purchases. The problem is it's often unclear as to what you're actually paying for at the point-of-sale. Thus, you might think you're purchasing an ebook when you're actually only renting it – a mistake that can prove costly if you plan on using the same ebook for different classes over several semesters.
One easy way to tell whether you're buying an ebook for life or just renting it is to search for the book on Direct Textbook, which instantly compares prices from the web's most reliable ebook vendors. After you search for a given textbook, find the “ebook” label in the second column, then locate the blue bracketed plus sign [+] next to it. Click that symbol to expand the row, which will reveal whether the purchase is for rental or ownership. Look for rental terms, an expiration date, or full purchase verification to determine the terms of your purchase.
In this manner, you can use Direct Textbook's powerful textbook search engine to compare true ebook terms and make the best buying decision for your situation.